Conservatives attempt reverse psychology in MN-8

I received this mailer on Oct. 30. Ostensibly this is a political action group hit piece on MN-8 Green Party candidate Ray Sandman. But the wording is clearly designed to entice liberals to vote for Sandman instead of Nolan.

I received this mailer on Oct. 30. Ostensibly it’s a political action hit piece on MN-8 Green Party candidate Ray Sandman. But the wording is clearly designed to entice liberals to vote for Sandman instead of Nolan.

Minnesota’s hotly contested Eighth Congressional District race is no stranger to outside political spending. As the contest draws to a close, however, the conservative group American Action Network is trying to use reverse psychology to drive liberals from incumbent Rick Nolan to Green Party candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman.

Many voters in the 8th received this piece, pictured above, on Oct. 30. It is ostensibly a hit piece on Sandman, but the language uses positive liberal buzzwords instead of the usual bile.

For instance, the piece says Sandman “Opposes copper-nickel mining projects like Polymet,” but then goes on to add a quote: “‘I’m not willing to gamble with future generations’ life and drinking water for a few hundred jobs so I definitely stand against that,”‘ Sandman said.”

That’s an awfully friendly way for a GOP-aligned group to hit Sandman on the issue. When they mean business, conservative messaging usually just says “Liberals hate mining, kill jobs, ruin future.” This is clearly written to make people who oppose mining think this guy sound pretty good.

How about this one: Sandman “Supports a $15 minimum wage. Sandman: ‘I was a union man for 25 years.'”

Again, a hit that isn’t a hit, if you’re a liberal.

The front of the piece uses a single quote: “… Sandman’s view appeals to progressives … [he] is a very pure representation of that left flank …”

That seemed familiar. It’s because I said that! It’s from a quote in an MPR story where I was asked whether I thought Sandman would draw votes from Nolan. How meta is that? For the second straight cycle, something I’ve done on the blog has ended up used by GOP forces in some kind of skullduggery. Is there a punchcard for that? I think I’m owed a sandwich at some point.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s a recap: A well-funded conservative group is pretending to hit Skip Sandman in order to put Sandman’s platform in front of liberals who would otherwise vote for Nolan. Will it work? Who knows? Heck, they probably just did it to get Democrats to whine and complain on the last weekend. In which case, well played.


  1. I typically consider myself a “conservative” and I faithfully follow your blog and respect your opinion highly. I like the GOP is “quoting” you as it means your writing and opinions are relevant and being noticed by both sides. Your writing is fair for a self proclaimed “liberal” and I thank you for that. I’ll buy you a sandwich someday, in the commons of course, when I have time. Haha. Happy Halloween.

  2. Thanks, Ande! All I really want is a sandwich. And I don’t mind being quoted in any party’s literature so long as it’s in proper context. This one is more amusing to me than offensive, but it does suggest Nolan’s going to be sweating his left flank on Tuesday. (The phrase “Sweating his left flank” is hereby trademarked by

  3. Bubba Soames says

    Nolan needs to make an ad featuring shameful glee turd talk and gestured pointing that emphasizes a spirited “you’re (yer?) darn tootend ” rhetorical summation . He does campy populism really well . Biden was as-usual effective in his normal campaign day job role of reassuring older white DFL voters . This whole slate is a zombie buffet , bumbling along to ask who’s the more mundane of two really lesser evils .

  4. Bubba Soames says

    Were that Ventura was on a ticket 🙂

  5. I received this mailing yesterday and will say it’s effective. I’ve been on the fence about Nolan/Sandman precisely because of the Polymet single issue, and I think the postcard leaves me leaning toward Sandman. I’m just so tired of all the Democrats falling over themselves to line up behind Polymet so they can “compete” with the Republicans on this issue, and sound like they’re just as pro-copper sulfide mining as the Repubs. Yuck. My husband and I did assume and figure out, after a second reading of the card, that it was a GOP ploy. It worked for me, but he’s sticking with Nolan…so we’re cancelling each other out, in effect.

  6. Do people pay much attention to mailed flyers or the tv campaign ads and are their votes actually influenced by them? I really have my doubts. The flyers no matter from which party go in our paper recyclables without reading. We don’t watch much local tv so miss most of the superficial political ads and the ads we have seen are only annoying, too many and repetitive, or slightly amusing at least the first time seen. You can’t get a sense of where a candidate is at from tv or radio ads and I can’t imagine that people change their minds from seeing an ad.
    I wonder about the accuracy of polling too, particularly phone polls now that so many people only use cell phones. We use both cell and landline but now have the option of seeing and hearing the phone number of a caller on the landline. We never answer an unfamiliar number and just let it go to the answer machine which seldom happens with calls selling something. It’s been great not to answer the gazillion calls to lower our insurance but I haven’t had an opportunity to answer a phone poll since we changed our landline system.

  7. Johnny Spuggert says
  8. Johnny Spuggert says

    It’s crazy, but Chauncey Devega will frequently reference Wrestling spectacle .

  9. Noble as it may be, voting for Sandman is just another vote for Mills. Hope the purists will all be satisfied if that corporate shill wins.

  10. What in the world did Stewart Mills ever do to you Jackie to make you hate him so much??

  11. He is just another Republican empty suit.

  12. Provide some depth Jackie, something to go on.

    Say…by the way, are you planning to show up for the group hug at the Science Pines next Sunday? I’d appreciate knowing how many tables to reserve. It’ll be busy. It’s deer season you know..

  13. I don’t do group hugs.

  14. What a shame…they relieve stress. Would make you a more peaceful person.

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